No doubt you've noticed the rise of remote work and its flexibility. And how our employees can better fit specific job responsibilities with their lifestyles. However, this flexibility comes with inherent challenges. It's easy to fall into the trap of working longer hours when you're not in a traditional office setting, just like separating work from personal life can be difficult. It's a unique balancing act when the lines between home and workplace blur.
Which is why this blog offers practical work-life balance advice for remote professionals. Whether you work from home or in an office, these strategies will help you stay productive while making time for friends, family, and your personal activities.
This answer starts with considering how remote work impacts an employee's well-being. Poor work-life balance means stressed and often less productive employees. Anxiety about lack of control of professional and personal lives usurps focus and energy in both areas. Conversely, a strong balance can mean a positive mental attitude and energy to do more at work and home. Remote work is increasingly popular among people who want the freedom to structure their day to meet so there's time to complete their work obligations and enjoy their personal lives.
You, or someone you know, who works from home, likely understand the lack of boundaries between work and personal life. Starting the day with things you enjoy is a simple strategy to rebuild these boundaries. Instead of waking up and going to sleep with email, consider yoga, walking your dog, or binging a favorite TV show. In other words, start and end your days on the personal side of the work-life balance bar.
There are plenty of communication tools to remind yourself and your coworkers of your schedule. Many of these resources automatically adjust for time zone differences, too. For example, consider posting your working hours on your company's Google calendar. Politely stick to your available hours, and your colleagues will eventually respect your personal time.
Make your home office a productive, distraction-free space. Maintain boundaries by using the area only for work. "Close" your home office on weekends to mentally differentiate work days from days off.
Working remotely converts commuting and disruptive office chats into productive time. Conversely, working alone can also morph into uninterrupted hours at your desk. Step away from your computer for at least 5 minutes an hour. If you need to feel productive, tackle a household task like changing laundry or returning a phone call during your break time.
Make time after work to recover from the day. Even if you close and turn off your computer, leaving your task at the end of the day can be difficult if you work and live in the same location. Make a non-work schedule and stick to it.
Whether you meet with clients in your home office or join virtual conferences, keep the space professional. Removing personal items like family pictures or unfolded laundry helps separate work and personal lives.
Avoid using remote work as an excuse for poor productivity. For example, don't regularly reschedule meetings to nap or bake bread "because you can." Similarly, don't blame missed deadlines on slow internet or an uncomfortable chair. Deadlines and job assignments are real, even working from home.
Get up and go outside for at least five minutes. Or do a personal errand that still gets you back to your desk, so you're available as your posted schedule indicates. We said it above, and we're repeating it because it matters: taking breaks makes you more productive.
Work frequently takes precedence over all other parts of our lives. It may be tempting to prioritize our professional success over personal well-being. However, achieving a healthy work-life balance is essential if we want to advance our careers and build our best personal lives.
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